For those of our colleagues who are influenced and informed by a religious tradition, there is much to be explored in the coming weeks as the holidays unfold. In particular, the Advent season provides a rich reminder of the hope, peace, love, and joy that are essential to the pursuit of the Christian religion. Throughout the ages, millions have found comfort and consolation in the power of religion to help interpret the wonders and the disappointments of this world.
Yet, as our colleague and friend Professor Carol Reynolds recently posted in “Advent Lockdown,” much of this year’s holiday will be anything but ordinary: “December 2020 will be void of events that ordinarily define the season,” including pageants, parties, and performances.
Nevertheless, the human spirit always seems to find a way to express the wonder and longings from within a worshipping community. To borrow from the recently deceased Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks: “What the secularists forgot is that homo sapiens is a meaning-making animal. The tyranny of technology and waves of progressive thought wracking our lives may indeed give us choices, but don’t teach us how to choose.”
Professor Carol further suggests that we consider at least two ways of creatively choosing in response to the social restrictions of this present moment:
(1) “Concentrate on the blessings” by trying something new or renewing something traditional—like a generational recipe nearly forgotten or more extensive Christmas cards with handwritten messages.
(2) “Nurture ideals of loyalty, respect, and reverence” by attending to our neighborhoods and spiritual communities, perhaps in ways we’ve overlooked for a while.
As is usually the case, Professor Carol provides us with wisdom and eloquence—and always a dash of mirth. So, take a look at the doctor’s advice, and let us know if you come up with some creative ways of drawing near in meaningful ways.